Global Workforce Migration Outlook for 2013: Off to Even More Surprising Destinations?

shutterstock_43706983_7‘UK to Botswana’, ‘Greece to Australia’, ‘Ireland to UAE’, and ‘Portugal to Mozambique’ – the four stories from the latest Guardian article illustrate European migrants fleeing the continuous recession. Indeed, ‘the great escape’ of Europeans from economic crisis, especially to emerging economies around the world, is expected to continue in 2013.

While already quite pronounced in 2012, emerging markets seem to be also starring the main role this year. In partnership with German newspaper Die Welt, the Worldcrunch international newsfeed article summarizes some of the reasons for such enthusiasm. Foremost, emerging markets are expected to continue to grow as 86% of the world’s population lives in the non-industrialized nations. And this tendency is on the rise, as the population of the former Third World countries is growing faster than the population in the aging industrial countries. Further, in financial terms, emerging countries have the benefit of low foreign debt levels, and high currency reserves, which can be used in case of crisis situations. As supported by multiple other publications, the macroeconomic data encourage continuous investments into emerging markets.

Would this investment enthusiasm also translate into increased global workforce migration to developing countries?

The 2013 first quarter Global Employment Outlook report by ManpowerGroup indicates that worldwide, hiring expectations are strongest in Taiwan, India, Brazil and Mexico. Conversely, the least job opportunities are seen to arise in Greece, Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia and Netherlands. As this shows, most job opportunities are indeed related to emerging markets, however not only to the group of the largest emerging BRIC economies that we usually refer to. Echoing this notion, The Wall Street Journal’s market watch publication argues that ‘emerging-market investors will need to look beyond the usual heavyweights known as the BRICs if they want to ensure healthy returns in 2013’. The report emphasizes that although usually referred to as a group, emerging markets are far from monolithic. The opportunities are seen in specific regions and countries, especially within the non-BRIC sector. For example, many of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa and Asia. Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, Ghana, Tanzania, India, Nigeria and Bangladesh are some of the top picks of worldwide investors.

Given that investment and business opportunities do not go without workforce involvement, the global workforce mobility outlook for 2013 promises to be quite interesting. I expect that not only self-initiated expats are being driven to new destinations in pursuit of jobs and professional development opportunities, but global organizations will also send more international assignees into emerging markets, especially the lesser-developed ones.

So much for the outlook and anticipation… Let’s return to this post by the end of the year with some actual numbers in place.

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